When I think of the space of time between last October and now, all I hear is a whooshing noise – that went fast. It hardly seems possible that Knife & Spoon, the upscale restaurant at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes is celebrating its first anniversary.
And it’s doing it with a grand dinner on Thursday, Oct. 7, with celebrity chef and Knife & Spoon founder John Tesar joining chef de cuisine Gerald Sombright an pastry chef Stephane Cheramy in presenting a five-course dinner.
Epcot on Monday opened its long awaited restaurant Space 220, an upscale dining experience with an expansive room and windows that look out into space and the Eastern Seaboard, 220 miles below (give or take a couple of hundred miles).
It’s a cool immersive effect with diners seated near large windows that look out to spacecraft zooming by, astronauts zipping around on hoverboards, and the green vastness of the curve of the earth (take that, Flat Earthers!). It’s sort of like dining at the Coral Reef restaurant in the Living Seas pavilion but with space through the windows instead of sea creatures (though the sea creatures have the advantage of being real).
Christmas decorations are starting to show up in stores so that means Thanksgiving is just two months away. I know, and I agree – that’s still a long way off.
And yet not so much. Especially if you’ve been thinking that this year you would host Thanksgiving and other holiday dinners at your house and invite all your vaxxed friends and family. And to add to the celebration you’d update your kitchen appliances.
If this were a normal year, say circa 2019 or before, you’d wait until early November, head on down to Southeast Steel and pick out your new refrigerator, stove or dishwasher then rush home to wait for the delivery.
When I first visited Illume, the rooftop venue at the JW Marriott Bonnet Creek, I was taken in by the spectacular view and then by the excellent food.
But Illume also has a stellar cocktail program. Some are pretty elaborate, like Magritte’s Pipe, a sort of Japanese Old Fashion made with Hibiki Harmony Whiskey, Amaro Montenegro and tobacco bitters. It’s served in a pipe-shaped pitcher and poured into a smoked glass.
And the Firebird, with Haiku Vodka, sake and freshly juiced cantaloupe, served in a bird beaker with a feathers chaser.
But those aren’t cocktails you can easily prepare at home. So I asked Illume bartender Roberto Cruz for a cocktail recipe we can enjoy on the restaurant’s terrace or prepare ourselves at home. He recommended the ILLUMination, a variation of a margarita.
Anyone who was still harboring hopes that Luma would move back into its old space should be convinced by the photos above. Seen through the front windows, the interior is gutted as workers remodel it for the new tenant, Ava, a Mediterranean style restaurant with owners from South Florida. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it won’t be opening any time soon.
As for Luma, word is that the owners were negotiating for another Park Avenue space, the site of a former high-end appliance venue on the lower part of the boulevard, but that fell through. I’m also hearing that the restaurant group is looking to open one of its existing brands, which include Prato and Luke’s, outside the area, possibly North Florida.